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Are all epinephrine auto injectors the same?

Are all epinephrine auto injectors the same? How do they differ?

Allergist Theresa A. Bingemann, MD
: As an allergist, I often get asked about epinephrine delivery devices and this exact question: “Are they the same or not?” The medicine in all of them is the same – it’s epinephrine. They may differ in dose, but they come in all different shapes and sizes.

So here I have four different delivery devices, and you can see the different sizes. And some of them you don’t see a needle when you start, but others, like this one, has an exposed needle. So this one is not an auto injector, it’s just a syringe with a nice grip on it to make it easier for patients, where the others are auto injectors.

Now, a few things you’ll notice is there may be different activation steps for each of the devices, and the instructions may say that you have to hold them for different lengths of time. The needle size or length may be different in the different devices as well.

So the most important thing is that you know how to use the device you have.

We know different formularies cover different injectors, and we also know the costs may vary substantially, so the most important thing is for you to have a device that you can carry with you, that you can afford, that you know how to use and you know when to use it.

If you have any questions or any of this isn’t clear, make sure you discuss it with your allergist. You could also ask the pharmacist. If you still need a reminder, many of the companies have videos online that you can review periodically to make sure you can safely and accurately use use your epinephrine in an allergic emergency.

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